Exploring the Self Driving Car Accident Rate

As more and more self-driving cars are entering our streets, the situation begs the following question – “What is the self-driving car accident rate?” Let us help you by sharing statistics found in the most recent self-driving car accident reports.

Accidents Related to Disengagement Mode

A self-driving car can enter “disengagement mode”. While this term might appear a bit technical, in reality, it really is not. The triggered “disengagement mode” forces the self-driving car to release full authority and control of the car movement to the human driver. At this point, the autonomous software stops controlling the car in any way and gives the steering wheel back to the person in the driver’s seat.


The database contains disengagement reports from 2014 all the way to January 2017. So far, 26 accidents were recorded, 10 out of which occurred during disengagement mode. 6 of those accidents occurred when the autonomous mode was manually disengaged, while 4 took place when Disengagement Mode was automatically triggered.

Self-Driving Car Traffic Accidents

As we have stated above, so far, there have been 26 recorded accidents. 16 of those accidents occurred when autonomous software had full control of the vehicle. The database we inspected contains information about all major self-driving car manufacturers, including Google, General Motors, Cruise Automation, Delphi, and Nissan.

By looking at the reports, there are four interesting facts that we have to point out:

  • The drivers’ reaction times tend to increase proportionately to the distance traveled, which leads to the conclusion that people tend to trust their self-driving cars more with increased mileage.
  • The number one factor that leads to the manually disengaging autonomous mode is lack of trust.
  • The likelihood of an accident occurring increases with more autonomous miles traveled.
  • According to Mercedez-Benz and Google, the average reaction time is 0.833 seconds.

We are Far from the Real Numbers


Before we jump to conclusions that self-driving car accident rates are very low, we have to address one more fact – logged mileage.

Let’s take the state of California as an example.


Back in 2013, there were about 50 self-driving cars versus 269 million conventional cars in this state. Self-driving cars logged 1.2 million miles, while conventional cars logged several trillion miles during the same year.

The accident rates are not enough to offer the answer to the ultimate question – “Are self-driving cars safer than conventional ones?” We simply need to analyze more factors and get more data before we can answer such an important question.

The right lawyers will specialize in car accident lawsuits of any kind. If you are the victim of a self-driving car accident and would wish to recover compensation for your losses, we will connect you with the right partner to help recover your losses.



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